“People are still wondering about the state budget,” Long Beach State Athletic Director Andy Fee said via Zoom Tuesday evening in the ‘State of the Department’ address.
“Some of my colleagues think it’ll be a 5% cut,” Fee said. “I think it’s somewhere between 10 to 20% potentially in terms of a cut. Probably more towards that 20%”.
Fee updated the Beach community about how the department will operate due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that budget cuts are projected to affect the number of scholarships for student-athletes.
“Scholarship dollars are going to be tough to come by,” Fee said, “but what we do know is that scholarship dollars are the fuel in which we compete for championships.”
Although there is still uncertainty surrounding coronavirus in the coming months, Fee plans for things to return to “business as usual” for the fall 2020 semester.
“Until we hear that fans won’t be able to come, or something of that nature, I’ve got it circled on my calendar for the first home event for those fall sports,” Fee said.
With spring sports being canceled in wake of the coronavirus, the NCAA is granting student-athletes, whose seasons ended early, an extra season of eligibility.
CSULB currently has 35 senior athletes who will have to decide if they will return.
“The NCAA has kind of put it in the institution’s lap, on whether to offer financial aid for those seniors to come back to complete their eligibility,” Fee said. “That comes with a price tag.”
The NCAA is allowing programs to return seniors on scholarship, but the amount of money granted for the athletes may not exceed what they received for the 2020 season.
Schools now factor the returning seniors’ scholarship amount into its budget while it considers incoming freshmen and the athletes already enrolled at the university, Fee said.
The budget cuts are not anticipated to affect one single team.
“It’s going to be consistent,” Fee said. “I don’t want to harm one program more than it needs to be. Many of our 19 sports are competing for a minimum of a Big West championship and I don’t want to snatch dreams away and penalize a coach or a program more so than another.”
Another NCAA rule that can impact CSULB’s student-athletes is the implementation of new waiver criteria that would allow athletes in good academic standing to receive a release to transfer schools and play right away for another program.
“This new rule creates potential issues around tampering with players,” Fee said. “One thing I worry about is the Power 5 schools. I’d worry that those schools can look to the mid-major schools, like ours, as a developmental league.”